3 August 2023

50-year service milestone for two Far South Coast SES volunteers just the beginning

| Claire Sams
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Two Moruya SES volunteers have reached 50 years of service

Two Moruya SES volunteers have reached 50 years of service, but they’re not planning on hanging up the orange uniforms yet. Photo: Simon Hill.

A lot can change in 50 years, but two volunteers have remained committed to serving their community throughout the decades.

Trevor Bennett and Jeff Ganderton marked 50 years with the Moruya SES in July.

Over those years, they have seen the Moruya SES unit grow into what it is today.

“I’ve been with the same unit since I joined the SES in 1973, and I’ve been heavily involved in working to structure the unit and then maintaining it throughout those years in many, many jobs,” Mr Bennett said.

“Around when I first joined, the structure wasn’t as organised as it is now.”

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For Mr Bennett, it was heading out with his father in his youth that sparked his interest in joining the SES.

“The reason why I joined in the first place is because I was working with my father, who had a panel beating and towing business in Moruya, and we had the NRMA depot.

“I used to drive the tow truck and see various car accidents,” Mr Bennett said.

“We were doing rescues with the tools that we had on the tow truck at the time, before there was a rescue squad that could be utilised in those jobs.”

He joined in 1973 and has since participated in a variety of operations alongside his fellow volunteers, including Mr Ganderton.

Mr Ganderton started out working with Bega Valley County Council in the electrical industry, and then he started volunteering.

He said the unit’s work had included responding to car accidents, carrying out general rescues and assisting other emergency services agencies, with some members helping with the Thredbo landslide and Newcastle earthquake operations.

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Mr Bennett said 50 years was a long time to be involved in something and he planned to keep pulling on the orange uniform.

“Reaching 50 years is quite significant because not very many people stick it out for that long.

“There’s always ups and downs in an organisation and sometimes people decide to chuck it in and do other things, or they have too much going on with their family commitments, their job or their health,” he said.

“But I have no intention of leaving, and I’ve enjoyed serving the community to the best of my ability.”

Mr Ganderton has also enjoyed his time with the Moruya SES.

“I’ve got to say, I’ve loved every minute of it,” he said.

But the Moruya SES needs new blood to keep the community safe in years to come, he said.

“At the very start, we had 50-odd members, with some people coming down from Batemans Bay but they joined up with a few others from Batemans Bay and started their own SES unit.

“For the moment, we’re working quite well but we’re a relatively small unit and any new members would be welcomed,” Mr Ganderton said.

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